USCIRF Praises Additional Humanitarian Assistance to Iraqis Displaced by ISIS

Jul 28, 2021

USCIRF Praises Additional Humanitarian Assistance to Iraqis Displaced by ISIS

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) applauded the United States Department of State’s announcement to provide an additional $155 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq, contributing a total of over $200 million for fiscal year 2021. The aid will support Iraqis who were displaced by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including several religious minority communities.

USCIRF is wholeheartedly pleased to see that the State Department will be providing this critical funding for the victims of ISIS in Iraq. It will play a crucial role in assisting those impacted by war and genocide at the hands of ISIS, especially religious and ethnic minority communities, to recover and rebuild.” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza.

Almost four years after ISIS was routed from its strongholds, religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq continue to face immense challenges to returning safely to their towns and homes from internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugee camps. Militia groups, such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), patrol checkpoints and demand that IDPs and refugees, especially religious minorities, pay excessive amounts of money to cross or risk being sent back to the camps.

The State Department’s announcement is a positive development for many religious communities in Iraq,” USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava added. “We call on both the U.S. government and the Iraqi government to ensure that these funds are used properly to assist the communities in need through an effective and transparent disbursement mechanism.”

In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. government continue to provide financial and technical assistance to Iraqi religious and ethnic minorities to stabilize and rebuild their communities. Last year, USCIRF released a policy update on Protecting Religious Minorities in Northern Iraq.

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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov.